Softball: Saints take solid lead into break

Saints will have the happiest Christmas after extending their lead in the premier competition on Saturday.

Two wins on the final round before the holiday break have given Saints a nine-point buffer over Cardinals.

It was more about efficient baseball than explosive offence for Saints in their wins over Dodgers (7-5) and Ellis Park (11-2).

While Kyle O'Neill gave Saints the perfect start with an inside-the-park homer with a man on base, it was the Dodgers' bats that ran hotter.

Jamie Robinson hit solo home runs at the top of the third and fifth innings, and Matt Watts blasted a two-run dinger in the seventh.

The problem for Dodgers was that Saints were able to get men on base and pounce on errors to keep their score ticking over.

Ellis Park took an immediate 2-0 lead in the other game, but Saints did not exactly panic.

The competition leaders poured in five runs in the bottom of the first inning, with Morgan King whacking a run-scoring triple. Then, with two outs in a scoreless third, Saints rattled on six runs, highlighted by a two-RBI Lachie Brensell double and a two-RBI Michael Crowley single.

Ellis Park's hopes of keeping pace with the leaders slumped further with a 10-0 loss to Cardinals inside four innings.

Cardinals scored two runs in the second inning, two more thanks to a Steve Willis homer in the third, and six in a fourth inning that featured a two-RBI Hoani Iva-Keen homer and a run-scoring Glenn Forrester triple.

Cardinals also got a fine performance out of pitcher Jacob Wedlock, who coughed up a single hit.

Dodgers pipped Cardinals 4-3 in the closest game of the day.

Dodgers led 2-0 after three innings, with a run-scoring Cam Watts double and a Robinson triple the highlights.

Cardinals levelled the scores at the top of the fourth, Dodgers regained the lead with a run-scoring Robinson single, and Cardinals again pulled level at the top of the seventh.

In a rather anti-climactic finish, Ross Familton scored the winning run for Dodgers on an error.